Tijuana Xolos Week 3 Recap: Americans Play Key Role In Tijuana Xolos’ 1-0 Win Against Chivas

Credit: Xolos Soccer

The Tijuana Xolos have not dominated another club in their short history like they have against Chivas de Guadalajara.

The team which has existed for over 100 years (Chivas) has still not been able to defeat the team that has only existed for less than a decade (Xolos), since 2011.The streak continued for the Xolos on Saturday night, when they beat Guadalajara by the score of 1-0.

Tijuana’s manager, Miguel Herrera, went for a 4-2-3-1 formation for this match. This was the first time this season that Herrera had not gone for the classic 4-4-2 formation in the Clausura 2017. Gibran Lajud played in between the sticks. The defense was then made up of Michael Orozco, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Emanuel Aguilera, and Damien Perez. The two men in the middle consisted of Guido Rodriguez and San Diego man, Joe Corona, getting his first start of the season for the Xolos. Victor Malcorra and Paul Arriola played out on the wings with Milton Caraglio playing up front and Aviles Hurtado playing in just behind him.

The Chivas really did dominate the game, but of course that doesn’t mean much in soccer if you cannot get the ball in the back of the net. The first opportunity of the game did fall to Guadalajara in the 11th minute of the game. Defender Edwin Hernandez made a powerful shot towards Gibran Lajud’s net, but luckily it smashed the crossbar. The game was really an intense encounter and many fouls were seen throughout the game. Unfortunately, Tijuana’s Emanuel Aguilera was injured in the 30th minute of the game. The Argentine defender had to be subbed out of the game and Yasser Corona would take his place in the Xolos’ defense.

San Diego man Paul Arriola did have a tremendous game against the goats. Arriola provided Tijuana their first clear chance of the game in the 38th minute. The 21-year-old made a spectacular sprint into Guadalajara’s penalty area and found space for a shot on the left hand side, but the shot unfortunately did smash the crossbar of Rodolfo Cota’s net.

Matias Almeyda’s men would then threaten Gibran Lajud’s net in the 4oth minute of the match. A miscue by the defense left Tijuana’s net wide open, Alan Pulido took a shot for Guadalajara, but sweeping in like a super hero was defender Michael Orozco. The American defender came out of nowhere and provided a goal-line clearance which impeded Guadalajara from getting on the score sheet first. The first half concluded with Guadalajara dominating and having most of the opportunities in the game.

The first chance of the second half fell in the 50th minute of the game for Miguel Herrera’s men. A rebound allowed Victor Malcorra to produce a shot towards goal in the penalty area, but the shot would go over Guadalajara’s net. The ‘rojiblancos’ received their first opportunity of the second half in the 56th minute of the game. A free kick by Xavier Lopez was on target towards Gibran Lajud’s net, but the 23-year-old goalkeeper did a great job in saving it and clearing the rebound from harm’s way.

Credit: Liga MX

The second of three substitutions in the game for Tijuana came in the 72nd minute of the match when Juan Carlos Medina replaced Victor Malcorra at midfield. After over an hour of play, the goal finally came in the 74th minute of the game. San Diego Man, Paul Arriola, found his way up the pitch, just outside of the right-hand side of Guadalajara’s penalty area. The American midfielder just got a cross in before going out of bounds and the cross found its way beautifully to the second post of Rodolfo Cota’s net, where Milton Caraglio was to head it in and give Tijuana the 1-0 lead. The Argentine striker’s positioning proved to be critical once again as he leaped in between two defenders to put the ball in the back of the net. Caraglio would come off as a hero in the 76th minute of the game when he was subbed off for country man, Juan Martin Lucero.

After that substitution, not much else would happen in the game. After the 90 minutes, the Tijuana Xolos would keep their dominance over Chivas de Guadalajara and come away with a 1-0 victory. The game was magnificently played by Tijuana as they defended well and found enough space to score a goal in between. Guadalajara was the more dominant team, securing 61% possession time of the sphere as opposed to Tijuana’s 39%.

Matias Almeyda’s men also came away with 17 shots while ‘Piojo’s’ men only had six in the match. Gibran Lajud was enormous in securing Tijuana’s victory at the Estadio Chivas as he had several key saves throughout the game. The American trio that were in Miguel Herrera’s lineup proved to be crucial in the game. Joe Corona was excellent in the game without making too much noise in the middle of the field. Corona’s distribution of the ball was key to securing the victory for the Aztec Dogs. Michael Orozco was also crucial in the game as he had a goal-line clearance, which, had the ball gone it, could have made a world of difference. Finally, Paul Arriola had to be the best position player for the Xolos, having a shot smash the crossbar in the first half and a crucial assist in the only goal of the game in the second half. Apart from that, the San Diego man was amazing throughout the game, providing good movement of the sphere and good defensive work as well. This win was huge for Tijuana as it gave them a true identity for this Clausura 2017, proving that the Xolos are true playoff contenders even without Dayro Moreno or Gabriel Hauche. Tijuana will have to face another huge club this Friday as they will take on Cruz Azul at the Estadio Caliente. Until the preview, Xolo hermanos, Fuerza Tijuas!

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Francisco Velasco
Francisco, 21, Chula Vista area, Journalism student at Southwestern College. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres' 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the Tijuana Xolos soccer team, get press passes for every home game and write consistently about the team for EVT.

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